Happy New Year from Campbell House Museum!

Wel­come to 2010 every­one!  To cel­e­brate the new year, we’re post­ing a let­ter William Sub­lette wrote to Hugh Camp­bell on New Years Day 1837, 173 years ago.  He talks about his health prob­lems and what he thinks of Dr. Beau­mont — appar­ent­ly Beau­mont treats Sub­lette the way Sub­lette treats the Indi­ans he trades with.  But the 2nd let­ter talks a lot about Sub­let­te’s feel­ings toward a cer­tain “coquette” who Robert fell in love with.  Sub­lette is cer­tain that Robert will get over her in just a short time.  The girl is Vir­ginia Jane Kyle, and con­sid­er­ing the let­ters they wrote to each oth­er in their 38 years of mar­riage, Sub­let­te’s pre­dic­tions cer­tain­ly nev­er came true.  Enjoy and Hap­py New Year!


St. Louis Jan­u­ary the first 1837
Dear Hugh
Your wel­come and inter­est­ing let­ter of Decem­ber 5th came
to hand on last evening which I have long wisht for and this
is the lat­est news we have from Philadel­phia as the roads has
been in such sit­u­a­tion it was impos­si­ble to reach here sooner.
Now just imag­ine you see your friend Sub­lette sit­u­at­ed in
an rock­ing armed chair with a writ­ing desk atacht thereto.
Cross leg­ed for that sit­u­a­tion at the present answers me best
for rea­sons you may guess- My health and strength has im-
proved con­sid­er­able since Robert left here, but I cant brag
much on my fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples for Dr. Beau­mont and
me has a round or so every fieu days. On yes­ter­day he per-
formed a small oper­a­tion and on the extreme it was as severe
as it was small and difi­cult to get at was as severe as any
herto­fore. I have giv­en him his orders to let me rest until
tues­day next when I expect to have a small row with him.
He puts me in mind of my self whilst engaged in the Indian
trade how I fre­quent­ly laid open the mules backs and cut open
the dis­eased parts (poor ani­mals how they suf­fered). But
speak­ing of Beau­mont I am much pleased with him and think
him an exce­lent ser­gent [sur­geon] at present there is not
much prospects of my get­ting out before spring to attend to
busi­ness and I have deter­mined to take it fair and easy for
my can­did belief is all things are for the best as God made us
for his pur­pose and knows best how to dis­pose of us if it
should be for the ben­e­fit of oth­ers, as I am smart­ly enclined
to believe in foreordination.
Times is dull in St. Louis and mon­ey scarce but there is
some hopes of a bank here from our legislature.(footnote 10) Our city
is not as gay this win­ter as has usu­al­ly been and from what
cause I cant say for it has been uncom­mon­ly healthy. Produce
of all kinds is high corn has sold here in mar­ket for $1.25 per
bushel and coal aver­ages about 28 cents pr bushel, those two
arti­cles I am most inter­est­ed in but the roads has been des-

Dear Hugh
Rel­a­tive to your part of the let­ter respect­ing Robert I am
sor­ry I was not in pos­e­sion of before he left for my advice to
him would have been dif­fer­ent from what it was from the
acount and descrip­tion that Robert gave me I felt much inter-
est­ed in his behalf and can­did­ly it ren­dered [me] more or
less unhap­py on his account as I dis­cov­ered it praid on his
feel­ings-pressed him to go in com­pa­ny, I went so far as to ad-
vise him to press his address­es that no doubt but that a good
wife was the great­est bless­ing a man ever enjoyed and that
she was young and fool­ish and would soon yield, that a wife
two easy court­ed was scarce worth hav­ing, not think­ing that
Robert could be over come by and blind­ed by love at his age
as I have no doubt but he was. For we in our remarks re-
spect­ing the qual­i­ties of young ladies gen­er­al­ly agreed, and
that of a coquette or of show­ing fad­ing colours I nev­er ad-
mired. I am well aware Roberts sit­u­a­tion at that time was
one that was rather inclined to lead him a stray. Just recov-
ering from a long spell of sick­ness when a man’s mind is
rather week and not oth­er wise engaged in busi­ness the least
kind­ness or atten­tion shown him at that time and especially
by a female was enclined to make the more last­ing impression
of it. But as I think this is not more than the sec­ond or third
time he has been in love and prob­a­bly a long absence may over
come it, not a short one. But I am not capa­ble of judging
for I must can­did­ly con­fess which you may think strange for
a man of my age to say I was nev­er seri­ous­ly in love in my
life nor would I per­mit myself to be so for I nev­er was in a
sit­u­a­tion to get mar­ried as that which I could wish. How easy
this may wear off with Robert I cant say for my belief is that
when a man’s afec­tion is once placed it nev­er can be removed
to that of anoth­er with the same ardor but I think Robert
ought to bless his stairs [stars] he can get out of this scrape
and I will advise him to take a wife in Mis­souri and leave him
to trust to Prov­i­dence as all is for the best.
I admire the char­ac­ter of your coun­try­man Tom Moore in
many respects but in the instance you speak of in your letter
it puts me two much in mind of one of the par­ty now in ques-
tion (V K). I have giv­en you my views as far as I am
capa­ble. Its a pit­ty we both could not get mar­ried to wives
of fifty thou­sand each as I have more need of her mon­ey than
love, at present and in faith I think Robert would have no
objec­tion to the cash, if so, he could keep the wife & give me
the cash. We are get­ting on as well as could be expect­ed but
I think a wife would be of no incum­brance to one or both with
a fieu shillings, if there is one of that kind please send her
to me by Robert. I dont want her too smart for she might out
gen­er­al me and perceve my weak­ness and not be so afec-
tion­ate in case I should spend the mon­ey. Please excuse my
scrib­ling by writ­ing me, and my respects to Mary &c. I will
write to Robert soon.
God bless and pro­tect you are the wish­es of a friend
Wm. L. Sublette
This is the only Newyear’s Gift I have to present you, as small
and unin­ter­est­ing as it may be. My fruit trees have not yet
come to hand.
Mr. Hugh Campbell
Care of Gill, Camp­bell & Co.,

10 The Bank of the State of Mis­souri was char­tered by act of the
leg­is­la­ture, Feb­ru­ary 2, 1837. The leg­is­la­tors elect­ed John Brady Smith,
pres­i­dent, and Hugh O’Neil, Edward Walsh, S. S. Ray­burn, Edward
Dobyns, William L. Sub­lette, and John O’Fal­lon, directors.

4 thoughts on “Happy New Year from Campbell House Museum!

  1. Nancy

    My 2xgreatgrandfather, Hugh Camp­bell was born near Pais­ley and Glas­gow, Scot­land in 1817 he came to Amer­i­ca in 1839 (first to Mass then to Jack­son Coun­ty, Iowa in the 1840’s and died 1891 and is buried in Belle­vue, Jack­son Coun­ty, Iowa.

    1. campbellhousemuseum

      It’s won­der­ful that you know the his­to­ry of your fam­i­ly so far back!! There were and are lots of Camp­bells, but it’s pos­si­ble that the two are very dis­tant­ly relat­ed. Thank you for the com­ment and we hope you enjoy the letters!

  2. Nancy

    It is pos­si­ble that this Camp­bell fam­i­ly might be related…my Hugh Camp­bell (b‑1817, Pasi­ley, Scot­land), his par­ents, Patrick Camp­bell (b‑1780) and Rosan­na Daugh­er­ty Camp­bell were born in Ire­land. They also came to US and set­tled at Jack­son Co., Ia which is on the Mis­sis­sip­pi Riv­er. Thanky­ou for repling to my comment…and I did enjoy the letters.

  3. Pingback: This week in history: February 15-February 20 « Campbell House Museum’s Blog

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